If you’ve read my bio, you know that it was Tolkien’s fantasy worlds that awakened my love of reading. It doesn’t surprise me that fantasy taps out on my laptop or lines my bookshelves. Now, with a grandson, I’m eager for him to experience that same spark. I want to awaken in him a love of fantasy. I have to wait a few years, but I found just the book.
If anyone follows Ali Isaac’s blog, you’ll know she’s the Guardian of Irish Mythology. In all likelihood, you’ve already discovered a magical portal into the world of Irish lore. She writes in such a way that my permeable boundary between what’s historical and fantastical further blurs; I’m swept up in the magical reality of old races and parallel worlds. Why not?
While on vacation, I read Isaac’s fabulous book: Conor Kelly and the Lost Treasure of Eirean. Her wealth of knowledge comes to life as she deftly weaves Irish mythology into Conor’s story. It made me want to travel to Ireland, trespass in the ancient hills, grub around in every farm pasture, and sneak into the restricted areas of visitor centers in the dead of night. 🙂 I can’t wait.
I get a rush of adrenaline when I read the first pages of what I know is going to be a great book, and this one is a wondrous journey on multiple levels. It follows the epic adventure of Conor Kelly, a disabled teenager with little control over his body and life. The unlikely hero is the perfect protagonist to save the magical Irish race of the Sidhe (The Tuatha de Dannan). He’s fearful, courageous, and full of self-doubt. He’s also the descendant of Lugh, an Irish hero, and magic flows through his veins.
In the magical parallel realm of the Sidhe, he’s tasked with finding the four treasures that will defeat the disgraced Sidhe-King, Bres, who seeks vengeance on his people and dominance over all mankind. To achieve his goal he must journey through the lands of legend and unlock that magic hidden in his blood.
Yet, that’s only part of the story as the world of the Sidhe is rife with danger, intrigue, and betrayal. To find the treasures, Conor must enter the sacred places, form alliances, and battle a fire-breathing dragon, a giant warrior, and the power-thirsty king.
Though Conor has the ability to speak telepathically and gains some use of his limbs in the fantastical world, his disability isn’t magically cured, and he must fight harder and with more determination than the average kid. Aside from the pure adventure of the quest, this book is a story about fortitude, learning to rely on and trust oneself. In achieving his goal, Conor uncovers his power and comes into his own in spite of his disability.
In my opinion, Conor Kelly and the Lost Treasure of Eirean is appropriate for ages 12 and up, since there are some violent scenes toward the story’s end. The authentic Irish names are a challenge, but Isaac provides a People, Places and Pronunciation Guide that is extremely helpful.
Conor Kelly and the Lost Treasure of Eirean is the first book in The Tir Na Nog Trilogy, but also works well as a stand-alone read (though why anyone would stop there is beyond me). Enjoy!